Good Mitchell: Giants v Swans wrap

Just like Mitchell Johnson carving through middle orders, Tom Mitchell keeps chopping them up.

Good MitchellThere is a good Mitchell Johnson and a bad Mitchell Johnson. Prior to this summer’s Ashes series, we had only seen glimpses of Good Mitchell. Now it seems the coin is permanently stuck on tails, as we’re seeing Good Mitchell every day on the current tour of South Africa.

So it is also with Tom Mitchell, who despite having a restricted preseason managed 34 possessions and two goals in a dominant performance for a 138/152. There is such a phenomenon as second year blues in AFL players, but it looks like Mitchell is too good for that. This effect happens most often when players who were given their head in their first year to give them a taste of the action are asked by the fitness staff in their second preseason to bulk up a lot more, which slows them down somewhat and changes their games as they adjust to their own bodies. Mitchell evidently hasn’t suffered that fate, as he has been recovering from surgery for torn ligaments in an ankle that occurred before the 2013 preliminary final. Mitchell is no stranger to the rehab group, having suffered knee tendonitis in the previous year plus a shoulder injury. He seems fit enough, though, so even though he’s already priced at 85-90 he could have another gear to go. Personally I won’t be buying him, but I could understand others doing so; it may come down to bye distribution.

The big news story for fantasy on the Giants side of the ball was the return of Toby Greene to midfield for a 101/99. He dropped 20 points last year moving to a HBF, but we know he’s capable of regaining those and maybe a bit more if he is restored to the inside midfield role that made his name in 2012. The only word of caution I would note would be that he doesn’t seem to have improved his disposal quality in any way, with five clangers recorded as well as many other terrible kicks to nowhere. Like Nathan Fyfe, though, sheer weight of possession and his all round game (3 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 10 of his 30 touches contested) means he will register a decent Supercoach score most weeks even if his DE% is unimpressive.

I am less bullish about Lachie Whitfield (106/126). We know from last year that he is capable of such scores in a single game, but the problem with him (on an admittedly small sample size from his first year) is stringing games like that together. To lift his average from the 70s to something like the 100s that Greene and Mitchell look to be set for, he’d have to show a lot more stamina in his second year. Whitfield seems to me to be the sort of spindly kid who would be far more likely to suffer those second year blues, as he needs to get on the protein shakes something shocking.

Luke Parker (98/107) is a fourth-year player who has shown consistent improvement every year to go from 50s to mid 60s and then mid 80s last year. Classed as a forward this year he suddenly becomes fantasy relevant, particularly if he can hit 90s or beyond. I don’t particularly like Sydney’s draw this year, and if you’re looking for a young Swan forward then Mitchell is a much safer bet.

The young Swan forward you probably don’t want, at least if you plan on starting him, is Gary Rohan (58/66). We haven’t seen Dayle Garlett, Tom Boyd or Jesse Hogan yet, but they are currently competing with Rohan in my fantasy forward line for a single starting spot. Normally I would advise going for the small player over a key forward, but Rohan plays like a tall in the lead-up style and has a similar problem of limited opportunities to score points. With Samuel Reid (75/93 with three goals) apparently staying forward alongside Lance Franklin and Adam Goodes, not to mention Mike Pyke resting forward and Kurt Tippett when he returns, there’s not much scope for a small marking forward to get inside 50 targets at the Swans. Rohan also strikes me as a vest candidate. If Hogan and Boyd look the goods then Rohan may get squeezed out of my side, but at the moment he’s barely hanging on to a bench spot.

Those who had wondered if Heath Shaw (52/48) would somehow be released from the shackles at GWS and return to his old ways of roving about halfback and enjoying himself will be sorely disappointed. The Giants do not play possession footy, and Shaw will have to work hard defensively in a lot of games this year. He’s not lifting his average. Avoid.

Speaking of the absent Tippett, he leaves a hole in the Swans 22 for a second ruck that Tom Derickx (65/72) may walk into ahead of Sam Naismith (51/58). If you don’t like Fraser Thurlow or think Billy Longer is too expensive for your ruck bench, Derek X is worth a look if he’s named for round 1. Much would depend on injury reports for Tippett, though: the latest thoughts from John Longmire is setting him for round 2, but tendonitis has a habit of extending injury layoffs so that’s one worth watching.

How many young Swan forwards are you squeezing into your fantasy forward line, especially if you’re also picking Buddy? Are you buying the nugget of purest Greene? Are you holding a candle for Heater? Do you think Derek X can be an X factor? Let me know in the comments.

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